Business News in Brief

The Akmola region will implement one of the largest projects in Kazakhstan within the framework of EXPO 2017. This was reported by the press service of the Akim (Governor) of the Akmola region. Construction of the Samal wind farm in the Yereymentau district of the Akmola region will be one of the largest foreign investments in Kazakhstan. Over the last two years, the Chevron company assessed potential sites for wind farms in Kazakhstan and chose the area near the district center, located 150 kilometres due east from Astana. Analysts are now conducting primary research and the first phase of evaluations for the site’s environmental impact assessment (EIA). Chevron plans to support Kazakhstan’s efforts to achieve goals such as economic diversification, the development of high-tech industries, the development of renewable and environmentally clean electric power, the further implementation of the State Programme of Industrial and Innovative Development (PAIID), attracting new foreign investment and job creation through the implementation of the project. The planned capacity of the wind farm will be about 30 MW.

As part of the country’s Industrialization Map, Kazakhstan is implementing 78 projects in the mining industry, of which 42 have been put into operation, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said at the Fourth Astana Mining & Metallurgy International Congress on June 12-13. “At present, the Industrialization Map includes 78 projects with a total investment of $12 billion U.S. dollars. Forty-two projects have already been launched, which have created 12,000 jobs. I am referring to the Vasilkovsky plant, the second stage of the aluminum plant, etc.” Issekeshev said. “Our major companies, Kazakh investors and national companies play a big role in it. For example, the company Tauken-Samruk is building a refinery, which will be launched by the end of this year. Kazatomprom has also started the first ever project in the field of rare earth metals and the Development Bank of Kazakhstan has funded projects such as the Taraz Metallurgical Plant and Evraz Holding,” he added.

Halyk Bank, one of Kazakhstan’s largest banks, said on June 18 it expected to sell its pension fund by the end of 2013, making clear it preferred cash to the government’s offer of shares in state-run Bank BTA. J.P. Morgan Chase has valued Halyk’s private pension fund, Kazakhstan’s largest pension fund by assets, at between $576 million and $715 million, Halyk Board Chairman Alexander Pavlov told reporters. He said the bank was now expecting the government to give its own estimate of the fund’s value. President Nazarbayev ordered the government in January to nationalize the country’s pension system by merging the assets of private pension funds into a single state-owned fund to support fast economic growth. Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov told Reuters in March that the government planned to nationalize the country’s three largest pension funds this year by paying for them in state-owned shares in local banks. A government order instructed sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna to offer Halyk Bank a swap of its private pension fund for shares in BTA, the country’s third-largest bank by assets, which was bailed out during the financial crisis. Voicing Halyk Bank’s position after months of deliberations, Pavlov said the deals on the sale of Halyk’s pension fund and the purchase of BTA “ought to be parallel.”

Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate developer by market capitalisation, has awarded a contract worth nearly Dh4 billion in Kazakhstan to a joint venture company led by regional construction major Arabtec, it was announced on June 17. In a joint statement, the two companies said Aldar’s contract is for the development of the Abu Dhabi Plaza in Astana. Aldar EuroAsia, an Aldar subsidiary, awarded the multi-billion dirham contract to develop Abu Dhabi Plaza, a 500,000 square metre mixed-use development comprising five towers, the tallest of which will measure 320 metres. Aldar’s stock on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange closed 2.14 percent higher at Dh2.39, while Arabtec’s shares were up 3.12 percent, closing at Dh2.12 on the Dubai Financial Market.